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imp definition

Overview

This page has 14 definitions of imp in English. Imp is a verb and noun. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: imp., Imp., and IMP

English

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Middle English impen, ympen (to plant; (figuratively) to bury; to graft; to add to, insert, put into, set in; to mend (a falcon’s feather) by attaching a new feather on to the broken stump),[1] from Old English impian, ġeimpian (to graft), from Proto-West Germanic *impōn (to graft), from Vulgar Latin *imputō (to graft), from Ancient Greek ἔμφῠτος (émphutos, implanted; planted), from ἐμφῠ́ω (emphúō, to implant) (from ἐν- (en-, prefix meaning ‘in’) + φῠ́ω (phúō, to bring forth, produce; to grow) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bʰuH- (to appear; to become; to grow))) + -τος (-tos).[2]

Verb

imp (third-person singular simple present imps, present participle imping, simple past and past participle imped) (transitive)

  1. (obsolete) To engraft or plant (a plant or part of one, a sapling, etc.).
  2. (figuratively, archaic) To graft or implant (something other than a plant); to fix or set (something) in.
  3. (falconry) To engraft (a feather) on to a broken feather in a bird's wing or tail to repair it; to engraft (feathers) on to a bird, or a bird's wing or tail.
    • 1900, E[dward] B[lair] Michell, “Accidents and Maladies”, in The Art and Practice of Hawking, London: Methuen & Co. [], OCLC 562761113, page 229:
      I have known feathers so imped that the eye could not discern the place of juncture, and it was difficult even to discover it by passing the thumb-nail down the shaft of the imped feather.
    • 2004, Roseann Tomko, Illinois Audubon, Wayne, Ill.: Illinois Audubon Society, ISSN 1061-9801, OCLC 12083856, page 19, column 1:
      Bird rehabilitators borrow a trick from falconry with the age-old process of imping flight feathers on to a damaged bird.
    • 2016, David E. Scott, “Feathers and Aging”, in Raptor Medicine, Surgery and Rehabilitation, 2nd edition, Wallingford, Oxfordshire; Boston, Mass.: CABI, →ISBN, pages 246 and 250:
      [page 246, column 1] Feather damage is a serious problem for any bird. [] Repairing or imping broken feathers is a very good option in these cases and may save months or even a year in captivity. [] [page 250, column 1] Note that a feather can usually only be imped once since it is very difficult or impossible to remove and then replace an imping needle from within a feather shaft after it has been glued in place.
  4. (by extension)
    1. (figuratively, from sense 3) To provide (someone or something) with wings, hence enabling them or it to soar.
      • [1633], George Herbert, “Easter Wings”, in [Nicholas Ferrar], editor, The Temple: Sacred Poems, and Private Ejaculations, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: [] Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel; and are to be sold by Francis Green, [], OCLC 1048966979; reprinted London: Elliot Stock, [], 1885, OCLC 54151361, page 35:
        With thee / Let me combine, / And feel this day thy victorie: / For, if I imp my wing on thine, / Affliction ſhall advance the flight in me.
    2. To add to or unite a object with (something) to lengthen the latter out or repair it; to eke out, enlarge, strengthen.
Translations

Etymology 2

From Middle English impe, ympe (tree branch; shoot, sprig; graft, scion; young tree, sapling, seedling; tree) [and other forms],[3] from Old English impa, impe (shoot, sprig; graft, scion; young tree, sapling, seedling), from impian, ġeimpian (to graft) (see etymology 1).[4]

Noun

imp (plural imps)

  1. (chiefly fiction and mythology) A small, mischievous sprite or a malevolent supernatural creature, somewhat comparable to a demon but smaller and less powerful, formerly regarded as the child of the devil or a demon (see sense 3.2). [from 16th c.]
  2. (by extension)
    1. (often humorous) A mischievous child. [from 17th c.]
      Synonyms: brat, little dickens, scamp, urchin
    2. A baby Tasmanian devil.
      • [2012 May, Abigail Tucker, “What is Killing the Tasmanian Devil?”, in Smithsonian[1], Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, ISSN 0037-7333, OCLC 474759163, archived from the original on 4 May 2021:
        When they are upset, their ears blush a furious crimson, resembling red horns and adding to their diabolical image. (Baby devils, packed four to a pouch, are known as imps.)]
      • 2014 March 31, Julie Rehmeyer, “Fatal Cancer Threatens Tasmanian Devil Populations”, in Discover: Science for the Curious[2], Waukesha, Wis.: Kalmbach Publishing, ISSN 0274-7529, OCLC 1054391357, archived from the original on 8 November 2020:
        Although this devil was new to her – he was at the neck of the peninsula, which she visited only once a year – she often trapped the same devils dozens of times over the years, watching them grow from tiny imps in their mothers’ pouches to the grizzled old age of about 5.
      • 2015, Rebecca E. Hirsch, “The Life Cycle of Siberian Tigers”, in Siberian Tigers: Camouflaged Hunting Mammals (Comparing Animal Traits), Minneapolis, Minn.: Lerner Publications Company, →ISBN, page 28:
        Siberian Tigers vs. Tasmanian Devils [] Tasmanian devils are marsupials, mammals with pouches. Females give birth to tiny, undeveloped babies called imps. About twenty to thirty imps are born at one time. The imps race to survive. They crawl about 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) to their mother's pouch. The first few to arrive attach themselves to the mother's four nipples. Only these four imps survive.
  3. (obsolete)
    1. A young shoot of a plant, a tree, etc.; a sapling; also, a part of a plant used for grafting; a graft. [9th–18th c.]
      • [c. late 13th or early 14th century, Oscar Zielke, editor, Sir Orfeo: Ein englisches Feenmärchen aus dem Mittelalter: [] [Sir Orfeo: An English Fairy Tale from the Middle Ages: []] (in Middle English), Breslau: Verlag von Wilhelm Koebner, published 1880, OCLC 879522108, lines 67–70, page 89:
        Þai sett hem doun al þre / Vnder a fair ympetre, / And wel sone þis fair quene / Fel on slepe opon þe grene.
        They set them down all three / Under a fair imp-tree, / And well soon this fair queen / Fell asleep upon the green.]
      • 1571, Arthur Golding, “To the Right Honorable and His Verie Good Lord Edward de Vere Erle of Oxinford, []”, in John Calvin; Arthur Golding, transl., The Psalmes of Dauid and Others. VVith M. Iohn Caluin’s Commentaries, London: [] Thomas East and Henry Middelton; for Lucas Harison, and G[e]orge Byshop, OCLC 1121348373, 1st part, folio iii, verso:
        [Atheists and Epicures,] ſeeke they not by all meanes poſſible too weede all Religion, all feare of GOD, all remorſe of conſcience out of mennes harts? Out of theſe rootes ſpring other impes, no leſſe perniciouſe than the ſtockes of whiche they come: []
    2. An offspring or scion, especially of a noble family; (generally) a (usually male) child; a (young) man. [15th–19th c.]
    3. (Britain, dialectal) Something added to or united with another to lengthen it out or repair it (such as an eke or small stand on which a beehive is placed, or a length of twisted hair in a fishing line).
Derived terms
Translations
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

References

  1. ^ impen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ Compare “imp, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, July 2020; “imp1, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  3. ^ impe, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  4. ^ Compare “imp, n.1”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2020; “imp1, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

Further reading

Anagrams